October 27, 1991

To the Editor:

Recent news coverage indicates the desperate state of our "civilization". Take the fire, for example. In all the hours and hours of coverage, I didn't see or hear a single mention of wildlife. Does this mean that all land belongs to the human species, and that nothing else matters? Obviously, the fire area is a forest, and important wildlife habitat.

I didn't hear a single mention of the (poor) homeless people who lived in the woods, only the rich homeless who lost their houses in the fire. Do you think in our efforts to rescue the rich homeless, we could also do something for the other homeless?

Fire is natural, even beneficial, in natural areas. Why didn't I hear anyone say that it makes no sense for us to build homes in such a place? If there were no houses there, the fire would have harmlessly extinguished itself in much less time than this fire lasted. Homes in the hills are automobile dependent, almost impossible to serve with public transit, and much more expensive to serve with water, sewage, and other municipal services. Nobody should live there. We should turn the area into part of a continuous north-south wildlife corridor.

Why was there no coverage of the arrival of Greenpeace's Rainbow Warrior in Oakland, where Greenpeace is giving its support to the poor communities of West Oakland in fighting the reconstruction of the Cypress freeway through their neighborhood? Instead of endless cutesy coverage of pets lost in the fire. Are the media now only of, for, and by the rich?

Sincerely yours,

Michael J. Vandeman, Ph.D.